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National Museum of Australia

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Carved and painted wooden sculpture of Purukuparli, a creature figure from the Tiwi Islands

2001.0024.0001

Carved and painted wooden sculpture of Purukuparli, a creature figure from the Tiwi Islands

Object information

Description

Purukuparli figure from a Tiwi Islands creation story.

Physical description

Carved wooden sculpture of a head. The background is painted in Dulux flat black paint with coloured dots in red, yellow, white and black pigments.

Statement of significance

The collection consists of one painted and decorated carving of the head of Purukaparli, two pamajini, or body ornaments, three dotting combs, five paint brushes and nine items of ochres. These objects were acquired during the inaugural Tracking Kultja: the National Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Cultural Festival, 2001.

The carving represents the continuing traditions in the Tiwi Islands, Northern Territory, depicting the ancestral being Purukapali who 'decreed that death should come to the whole world' (Tiwi Art Network, 'Tiwi Art, Some Interpretations.') and is related, as are the pamajini, to the significant pukamani ceremony and state of mourning. The objects in the collection were marketed through the new collaborative Tiwi Art Network, which was set up to present a united face for marketing the artworks of Bathurst and Melville Islands and promoting tourism to the islands and as part of the wider movement towards cultural maintenance and economic self-determination.

Object information

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